why do they wear white at wimbledon
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The are the oldest and most prestigious of the four tennis Grand Slam tournaments. (The other three are the, and opens. ) As such, Wimbledon is awash in long-lasting traditions and features, such as the habit of calling the menБs and womenБs competitions БGentlemenБsБ and БLadiesБ,Б respectively; the Royal Box, which has been reserved for members of the English nobility since 1922; and the iconic (and still advertisement-free) Centre Court. But arguably the most notable aspect of the event is the all-white dress code for all participants. Why does the tournament specify that its players dress Бpredominately in whiteБ or Бalmost entirely in white? Б The short answer is Бbecause itБs in the dress code. Б But itБs in the dress code for a reason: namely, when the code was written in the genteel 1880s, sweat stains were considered so improper and unsightly that it was decided that white should be worn to minimize their visibility, as sweat is more apparent on colorful clothing.
From that period on, Бtennis whitesБ were considered the standard attire for well-heeled tennis players, which described everyone who played in the first Wimbledon tournaments. Once that rule was prescribed in the dress code, the tradition-loving Wimbledon was loath to remove it. While it has been a part of Wimbledon for well over a century, the all-white dress code has not always been popular with players. The most extreme case of this was when superstar refused to play at Wimbledon from 1988 to 1990 in part because the dress code prevented him from wearing the flashy clothing that he was most comfortable wearing (and that was a large part of his personal brand at the time). Even the person widely considered to the best menБs tennis player of all time, was not above the dress code, as he was reprimanded in 2013 for wearing orange-soled white shoes that he was forced to replace in his next match. The following year, fellow tennis legend said that tournament officials had Бgone too farБ when they told her that her blue-striped skirt was not up to code.
When the criticism of some of the greatest players of all time is not enough to get Wimbledon to soften its dress code, there is a good chance that we will continue to see Wimbledon participants clad in all white for a good long time. by James Hunt Wimbledon's dress code is one of the most famous in sports. The rules, which specify that players must dress "almost entirely in white," are so strict that the referee can force players to change under threat of disqualification. In the past, many of the sport's top players have found themselves on the wrong end of this rulebut where did it come from? It's believed that the rule stems from the 1800s, when tennis was a genteel sport played primarily at social gatherings, particularly by women. The sight of sweaty patches on colored clothing was considered to be inappropriate, so the practice of wearingPpredominantly white clothinga. k. a. tennis whiteswas adopted to avoid embarrassment.
The All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, was founded in 1868 (initially as the All England Croquet Club) and introduced Lawn Tennis in 1875. Quite simply, the club is just a stickler for tradition. Recently issued guidelines for clothing include statements such as "White does not include off-white or cream," that colored trim can be "no wider than one centimeter," and that "undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration)" are not allowed. That's right: even the underwear has to be white. The rules have rubbed many famous tennis players the wrong way. In 2013, former Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was not to wear his orange-soled trainers after they were judged to have broken The All England Club's dress code. In 2002, Anna Kournikova was forced to her black shorts with a pair of white ones borrowed from her coach. And Andre Agassi to play at Wimbledon in the earlier years of his career because his signature denim shorts and garish tops were banned.
The all-white clothing rule isn't the only piece of baggage that accompanies Wimbledon's long history. It's the only Grand Slam tournament that's still played on a grass court, and the only one that schedules a day off on the middle Sunday of the tournament. However, the club is not immune to change. In 2003 a long-standing tradition of requiring players to bow or curtsey to the Royal Box on the Centre Court was by the Duke of Kent (who also happens to be The All England Club's president) who deemed it anachronisticthough the requirement does stand if the Queen or Prince of Wales is in attendanceand in 2007 the prizes for the men's and women's tournaments were. The all-white clothing rule may be annoying for players, but at least the club has shown it can change with the times in the areas where it really matters. Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at.
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